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Friday, August 31, 2007

So you want to be a wizard?

Recommended: So You Want to Be a Wizard? (Diane Duane)

I'd been meaning to re-read this one for a long time; part of my blogging quietness has been due to my catching up on this book, and its seven (!) sequels. (One thing I like about young adult fiction: it's short. I'm really tired of 800 page fantasy novel tomes. No, I'm not looking at you, Ms. Rowling. But if the shoe fits...)

Mrs. Troll of course made fun of me as I was working through the Young Wizard series. "Secretly you want to be a wizard, don't you," she laughs. Ahem. I think that would be true of anyone who enjoyed fantasy literature at a young age.

And in the end, I cannot deny that the title alone sells me on this book. But So You Want to Be a Wizard is certainly very fun. Nita and Kit are slightly geeky, young teenagers who get picked on by the other kids. Naturally they each stumble across a book titled.... well, you know the title.

The two become fast friends, but both are devoted to the higher calling of wizardry: to take the fight to the Lone Power whenever and wherever possible. I love that the real "hook" in the plot is Nina's stubborn desire to get her favourite pen back. But getting her pen back means making friends with an errant white hole (one of the weirder characters in the series!), and surviving an alternate, malevolent Manhattan filled with packs of bloodthirsty cabs and murderous elevators.

The book is fun, kind of crazy (is it fantasy? Is it science-fiction? Who can tell?), good young adult literature. It deals with the difficulties of the early teenage years (how important a pen could seem to the youth!), but doesn't venture too far into the serious. So You Want to Be a Wizard is followed by a string of other books: (currently) Deep Wizardry, High Wizardry, A Wizard Abroad, The Wizard's Dilemma, A Wizard Alone, Wizard's Holiday, and Wizards at War.

Phew. Some are better than others (Rule Number One: no author is ceaselessly brilliant.), but frankly I found the last novel to be worth the wait. If you enjoy So You Want to Be a Wizard, I think you'll enjoy the rest, too.

Ms. Duane has written quite a few novels. In addition to the Young Wizards series, there are a few parallel novels regarding the feline wizards (I would predict these are not for me), the Middle Kingdoms sequence (about which I know nothing), a slew of StarTrek novels, and StarDrive novels (science-fiction of some sort? can anyone enlighten me here?).

So You Want to Be a Wizard is a light read - fun and charming. I'm sure you'll find it very memorable.

1 comment:

Billy Goat said...

I read "So You Want to be a Wizard?" in 6th grade, and really loved the book. I still have vivid memories of it. I also read the second book, but it didn't strike me as much.

I totally forgot the series after that, because there were only two books available at the time. Now it looks like I have some catching up to do!